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Game and Fish tallies 53% hunter success during 2022 deer gun season

By comparison, North Dakota deer gun hunters had a 68% success rate in 2020 and 57% in 2021.

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North Dakota whitetail buck.
Contributed/North Dakota Game and Fish Department

BISMARCK – North Dakota deer hunters had an overall success rate of 53% during the 2022 deer gun season, as 47,590 hunters went afield and shot about 25,093 deer, the Game and Fish Department said Tuesday in reporting results from a postseason survey.

Game and Fish offered 64,200 deer gun licenses last year, and hunters spent an average of 4.4 days in the field.

By comparison, North Dakota deer gun hunters had a 68% success rate in 2020 and 57% in 2021, harvesting an estimated 39,322 and 32,793 deer, respectively, according to Herald archives. Game and Fish offered 68,650 deer gun licenses in 2020 and 72,200 deer gun licenses in 2021.

“The lower success was due, in part, to deteriorating weather conditions during the beginning of the season,” Casey Anderson, wildlife chief for the North Dakota Game and Fish Department, said in a statement. “We were met with high winds immediately followed by blizzard conditions, producing measurable snow amounts and below normal temperatures for most of the season.”

Hunter success for antlered white-tailed deer was 43%, and 40% for antlerless whitetails. Mule deer buck success was 64%, and 70% for antlerless mule deer.


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Casey Anderson, wildlife chief, North Dakota Game and Fish Department.
Contributed / North Dakota Game and Fish Department

Hunters with any-antlered or any-antlerless licenses generally shoot white-tailed deer, as the licenses are predominantly in units with mostly whitetails. Buck hunters had a success rate of 54%, while doe hunters had a success rate of 56%.

Game and Fish issued 10,822 gratis licenses in 2022, and 8,301 hunters harvested 3,578 deer, for a success rate of 43%.

A total of 1,168 muzzleloader licenses were issued, and 1,018 hunters harvested 461 white-tailed deer (223 antlered, 238 antlerless); hunter success was 45%.

A total of 27,720 archery licenses (24,414 resident, 3,306 nonresident) were issued in 2022. In total, 22,985 bowhunters harvested 7,780 deer (6,491 whitetails, 1,289 mule deer), for a success rate of 34%.

The department is in the process of determining recommendations for licenses in 2023. In addition to harvest rates and winter aerial surveys, Game and Fish staff monitor other population indices to determine license numbers, including depredation reports, hunter observations, input at advisory board meetings, and comments from the public, landowners and department field staff.

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